Dec 31st 2007
On the Way to Melbourne 10:15 CST about 1 hour before landing in LAX and E and E have warned me about the confusion the remodeling of the terminal in LA caused them. The pain in my left heel has intensified so I decided I'd ask for handicap help to the Int'l Terminal.The handicap van was a laugh. They left me off at the Sydney Qantas Terminal. Obviously they didn't want to circle again and just told me to check at a ticket counter. I dragged my carry-on to the next terminal and finally found Qantas/Melbourne tucked away in a corner.- Aboard the neatest plane with TV, three seats all to myself, endless snacks and meals.It's quite a long flight. I awoke from a long nap and saw on the screen that we had not even crossed the Int'l Date Line yet. The thought came to my half-awake mind that it might be best that the pilot do a u-turn or I'll need to sit here for hours again to get back to MSP.-
Our first 3 day trip was to The Great Ocean Drive plus the Australian Temperate Rain Forest. I have never seen an ocean such as this. The Aussies call it the Southern Ocean but I believe the map said the Indian Ocean. I'll have to check that out. The 12 Apostles, the sandstone cliffs that are out in the ocean and the wild waves are breathtaking. The drive is south and west of Melbourne and is about 6 or 7 hours. On the way to The Ocean Drive you go through the rain forest. We deviated a bit from the highway onto gravel so that E and E could climb around to a scenic waterfall. We stood around inhaling the fresh and fragrant rain forest air. I'm not sure what all contributed to the odor, perhaps the fern trees (yes, trees), eucalyptus trees, wild flowers, and such. The last time I smelled anything that delightful was upon landing in the tropical rain forest in Canaima, Venezuela.
Beth had a sales meeting in Sydney so that was a great chance for the 3 of us to go to that city. Beth went on Qantas early on Sat the 19th with co-workers and Eric and I flew up on Virgin Blue later in the morning. We three shared Beth's posh room at the Shangri-La. Eric and I checked and went up to the 25th floor to our room. The fellow at the desk was so kind to assign us that room. Eric pulled open the drapes and there in the big windows was framed the Opera House and the harbor. I'm not sure what I said but in spite of the overwhelming view I hope it was something proper. Eric and I each took a windowsill and stared to our hearts content. Beth was occupied all day and in the evening at a dinner at the Opera House so Eric and I walked steps, steps, steps and through quaint alleys to the wharf. (This was several days following my 2nd podiatrist visit). We took in the sights and ate. Beth came in late and cuddled in with Eric. I had a huge and so comfortable bed by myself. I'm beginning to believe that the beds in Australia are all soft and comfy.On Sunday afternoon we took a ferry to the Manly Beach. Much of it was closed off due to rip tides but a portion was open for me to sit in the sand while the others jumped and were tossed in the ocean.We had most of Monday to explore the city walk around the Opera House and to tour the worlds largest aquarium. I'm not a swimmer so I'll certainly never see such water life again. The nearest I can hope for is the IMAX Great Barrier Reef. I've had such happy times just being here with Eric and Beth. They enjoy their times together, they are good to me, and so pleasant to each other. We play including their modified version of rummy which they are probably going to call Australian Rummy. I also barely got started learning a Tjossem family game named Smear. Sounds like New Ulm or Lewisville to me. I've managed the train on my own a few times, learned how to make roasted capiscum, and walk on the left side of the sidewalk. Now in a few more days I will board the luxury plane to LAX. Perhaps, I'll wake up from a long nap near the International Date Line and wish the pilot would make a U-turn from that long flight and the LA airport and return to Melbourne.